From its founding in 1963, the University of West Florida (UWF) has purposefully chosen to be different by design and maintains that intention today. UWF has grown into a vibrant, distinctive institute of higher learning. UWF has successfully expanded its nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate and targeted research programs, including programs offered fully online. Dedicated to helping students realize their full potential, UWF favors small classes with qualified teacher-scholars who deliver personalized, innovative, hands-on learning and provide leadership opportunities.
The Florida Legislature established the University of West Florida in 1963, and the university officially opened its doors in 1967. Initially, UWF was organized into three resident or cluster colleges: Alpha, Gamma and Omega. The university later reorganized into a more traditional college structure and by 1999, had the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Professional Studies. Established as a senior institution enrolling upper-division and graduate students to address the needs of the Northwest Florida region, UWF began accepting lower-division students, becoming a four-year institution in 1983. In 1995, UWF began offering its first doctoral program.
Located on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, the UWF main campus is just minutes away from historic downtown Pensacola and some of the world's best beaches. In addition to the main campus, the university extends its services to various locations and offers a broad array of online programs. UWF also operates 29 historic properties in downtown Pensacola, through UWF Historic Trust. UWF Emerald Coast offers multiple locations close to home for residents located along the Emerald Coast, including Okaloosa and Walton counties.
Many individual programs and faculty members have achieved national prominence. UWF has garnered additional recognition from Forbes Magazine, ranked as one of "America's Top Colleges," from The Princeton Review as one of the "Best Southeastern Colleges," from U.S. News and World Reports as one of the "Top Online Education Programs," from The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the "Great Colleges to Work For," and from G.I. Jobs Magazine as a "Military Friendly School." For a full list of rankings and designations, visit the UWF Newsroom.